My students need reference materials: Webster's combination Dictionaries and Thersauruses, 5 Language Visual Dictionary, a Contemporary Globe, and World Atlases. These tools are heavily used, and need replacement each decade. Our decade is up.
The assignment begins, and students move to their stations. Chad, Equador, Haiti, Ireland, D.R., are among the many Mother Countries represented. They are first generation Americans- little humans. They sit together, working on a project, referencing hot beaches and pepper soup, popular video games, and the challenges of spelling. Then, from a blue chair by the window it begins, flowing around the room in a soft wave: the music. The song keeps them focused on their goal: to work as a crew to get the job done.
From the multitude of cultures making up my fourth grade classroom, we have created a classroom culture tied together with the arts.
Students live and breathe the arts, incorporating the subject into their academic hours. Being unafraid of the creative process, they are at the beginning stages of building a life full of clarity and peace.
Their job with me this year is to learn how to explain the end results of that creative process to our English-speaking neighbors and friends in writing, using standard English spelling and grammatical constructs. Strong skills in Language Arts will shield them and strengthen them as they venture from the classroom into the outside world.
This year, my students will be participating in a semester long project about the American Revolution. They will need strong mapping skills, they will have to write complex arguments, and they will need to describe traits of a generation that lived long before them.
Their project will require solid research skills, which will take months to hone in class.
Dictionaries and thersauruses will help them with finding and using accurate terms, translation dictionaries will aid my multitude of Second Language Learners, and atlases and a globe will support them as they seek to understand the reasons colonists revolted as they did.
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